Three charged with making meth

Multi-agency effort busts year's first meth lab
By DeeAnna Haney | Jun 02, 2014
Source: Donated photo Sgt. Mark Mease with the Haywood County Sheriff's Office, in front, along with an SBI agent, remove some of the hazardous materials from an alleged meth lab.

Investigators in a multi-agency effort uncovered the first meth lab of the year in Haywood County last week at a home in Clyde.

The investigation began after law enforcement that make up the Unified Narcotic Investigation Team (UNIT) received information about suspicious activity at the residence at 382 Pleasant Hill Road, which led detectives to believe that meth was being made at the house.

The UNIT is a group of officers from law enforcement agencies across the county that work together to combat drugs and other community issues.

While executing a search warrant at the home, the members of the UNIT found an active, fully operational meth lab inside a bedroom. They also found evidence of multiple other labs that had been operational at one time.

"This is not the only time they've made meth. This is something that's been ongoing at this location," said Sgt. Tyler Trantham, a member of the UNIT.

Though they were not in the home at the time the search warrant was conducted, Trantham said two elementary aged children were known to have been residing there.

The type of meth lab that was found is one of the more popular ways to create meth called the "shake and bake" or "one pot" method. About 81 percent of meth labs uncovered in North Carolina in 2013 were made using this method, which involves cooking meth by heating containers of flammable liquid chemicals which requires few ingredients.

Because the shake and bake meth cooking method is small and easy to transport and conceal, it makes it more difficult for law enforcement to find them, Trantham said. Even though they are smaller than the large scale meth labs that were once the most common, shake and bake labs are just as dangerous.

"They're just as dangerous and volatile as the larger labs," Trantham said.

When members of the UNIT found the lab, it was only a few steps away from the finished product.

Two men and one woman who were in the residence at the time of the search warrant were arrested. David Shawn Holt, 28, was charged with manufacturing meth, conspiracy to manufacture meth, possession of immediate precursor chemicals to manufacture meth and conspiracy to possess immediate precursor chemicals to manufacture meth.

Harold Cody Smith, also 28, was charged with conspiracy to manufacture meth, conspiracy to possess immediate precursor chemicals to manufacture meth and maintaining a dwelling for the use of a controlled substance.

Latasha Sorrells, 26, was charged with conspiracy to manufacture meth, conspiracy to possess immediate precursor chemicals to manufacture meth and maintaining a dwelling for the use of a controlled substance.

The Haywood County Sheriff's Office employs four clandestine lab certified detectives, which are the only law enforcement able to respond to meth lab scenes in the county.The SBI is the only statewide agency whose agents are trained and equipped to dismantle meth labs safely.

Agents provide safe disposal of the harmful products that meth labs produce at no cost to local law enforcement. Agents and trained local officers remove, neutralize and package meth lab waste and transport it to one of eight container sites across the state for pickup and destruction by a hazardous waste contractor.

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